Checks and Balances
The founders were very concerned that the president not become a king. To prevent this, they divided the federal government into three branches with overlapping authority. Their intention was that each branch would need to cooperate with the others, and that a single branch could not become too powerful because the other branches would check its grab for power. These three branches are the legislative branch (Congress), the executive branch (President), and the judicial branch (Supreme Court). The state governments generally have the same organizational structure, although some states make one branch of the government much stronger than the others. Whereas this section focuses on the federal system, the same principles apply to the states.